CDC, OSHA & The FDA Recognize KN95 Mask As Acceptable Alternative
THE CDC, OSHA AND THE FDA RECOGNIZE FILTERING FACEPIECE RESPIRATORS (FFR/DISPOSABLE MASKS) FROM OTHER COUNTRIES AS AN ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATIVE TO THE N95 MASK DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
With the COVID-19 pandemic requiring all NIOSH approved N95 masks to go to Health Care Personnel (HCP) on the frontlines, we - the American worker, have not been given direction from the Government (until recently) to the question “What is an acceptable alternative to the NIOSH approved N95 mask?”
The CDC, OSHA and the FDA working together recognize that foreign manufacturers who conform to one of the international standards from Australia, Brazil, Europe, Japan, Korea, Mexico and China are an acceptable alternative to the N95 Mask to protect workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These links describe the authorization to use an International mask in lieu of N95 masks:
- CDC-Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators
- OSHA Enforcement Guidance
Now that we have the approval to procure FFR’s from other countries to protect our workers, we must be sure to do our due diligence by researching a particular manufacture/mask before purchasing. As sad as it is, due to the high demand of masks, there are many disreputable companies taking advantage of the pandemic by producing counterfeit masks that do not perform as claimed. Before purchasing an FFR from an international company utilize the following links as a guide to determine if the manufacturers and distribution channels are legitimate. Then use these links to ensure the masks model number, international standard number, the masks filtration efficiency (%) maximum and minimum (≥ 95%) and there is an accompanying test report from a laboratory that is ISO/IEC 17025 accredited that confirms the masks' performance.
Use these links to determine if the International mask you wish to procure is legitimate:
- CDC-Purchasing Respirators from Another Country
- NIOSH-Understanding the Use of Imported Non-NIOSH Approved Respirators
AV Builder Corp is now quite familiar with the steps necessary in procuring a legitimate FFR for our workers. The links above are a great help with the procurement process. Once AVBuilder had pinpointed the FFR that best met our needs, we made sure that all the information that the seller was providing to us was identical to what the manufactures website provided. Moreover, we were assured that all the FFR’s information (model number, international standard number, filtration efficiency (%) and test report) matched the NIOSH/NPPTL - International Assessment Results prior to purchase.
To summarize, below are the steps AVBuilder employed to secure our properly certified KN95 masks:
- We researched foreign sellers of KN95 masks through the internet;
- Once we identified mask candidates, we requested from the seller(s) the Manufactures name, address, website, masks model number, international standards number, masks filtration efficiency (%) and finally the test report on the mask itself. We found it helpful to ask for the invoice that the manufacturer was planning to issue and include this information on the invoice;
- Once receiving the information above we looked at the manufactures website to see if all the information matched what the seller provided;
- We also then looked at the lab that tested and reported on the mask to make sure they had their ISO/IEC 17025 certificate of accreditation. We did this by going online and looked at the Lab who tested the masks website to confirm that they are ISO/IEC 17025 certified;
- Lastly we compared all the information gathered to make sure it all matched with the CDC’s NIOSH/NPPTL – International Assessment Results (Here is the link again: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/respirators/testing/NonNIOSHresults.html )
After completing these steps, we were confident in the legitimacy of the masks and we completed the purchase.
If you have any questions, feel free to Contact Us